Indian Air Force not keen on getting an extra 40 Su-30MKI fighters

Indian Air Force not keen on getting an extra 40 Su-30MKI fighters

By Dario Leone
Jun 14 2018
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Actually half of the service fighter fleet is made up of the aircraft and the Su-30MKI is expensive to maintain

The Indian Air Force (IAF) is not keen to buying an extra 40 Su-30MKI fighters. Actually half of the service fighter fleet is made up of the aircraft and the Sukhoi fighter is expensive to maintain.

India’s Mail Today in fact was told by government sources that “The Russians along with the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), which assembles the planes in India, have offered to sell 40 more of these planes to the Air Force but the Air Force does not seem to be very keen on acquiring them due to the heavy cost of maintenance which makes them very expensive to manage in the long run.”

The IAF has been undergoing a modernization program to replace and upgrade its aging fighter fleet since the late 1990s. On Jan. 3, 2017, Minister of Defence Manohar Parrikar claimed that IAF is in need of “200 new single engine fighters to be made in India, which will easily cost around (USD)$45 million apiece without weaponry.”

Two companies replied to IAF request for information (RFI) for a new single-engine fighter.

Indian Air Force not keen on getting an extra 40 Su-30MKI fighters
This print is available in multiple sizes from – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. F/A-18F Super Hornet VFA-11 Red Rippers, AB101 / 166634 / 2015

Swedish planemaker SAAB announced its intention to partner with Adani Group to build the Gripen E fighter jet in India. Lockheed Martin and Tata Group instead signed an agreement to manufacture the F-16 in India. Another Lockheed Martin proposal it to build the F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter jet in India. Noteworthy manufacturing the Lightning II in the country would give the Indian industry the chance to become part of the world’s largest fighter aircraft ecosystem.

However on Feb. 23, 2018 The Times of India reported that the country opened the tender up to twin-engine designs.

Saab to deliver first 2 Gripen E fighters to Brazilian and Swedish Air Forces in 2019

In consideration of this change, the American F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Russian MiG-35 and the European Rafale (36 of which have already been ordered by IAF) and Eurofighter Typhoon fighters along with the combat planes already listed above are considered to be the serious contenders in the new IAF project for which a request for proposal (RFP) is likely to be issued by the defence ministry before the end of this year.

Photo credit: Senior Airman Larry E. Reid Jr. / U.S. Air Force and Saab

Artwork courtesy of

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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